Fecal coagulase-negative staphylococci from horses, their species variability, and biofilm formation


The intestinal microbiota has enormous impact on the health and performance of horses. Staphylococci belong in the phylum Firmicutes, and their occurrence, especially of methicillin-resistant strains and species, has been reported in horses previously. Moreover, biofilm formation is one of the virulence factors; it has been not completely studied in fecal coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) from horses. Therefore, this study was focused on biofilm formation by various species of fecal CoNS from horses because it has been never reported before. In addition, their antibiotic profile was tested. Horses (42) of various breeds from Slovakia/Poland were sampled. Variability in the species of CoNS was detected in feces of horses. Thirty-two strains were identified by using the MALDI-TOF system and classified into nine species and three subspecies of CoNS: Staphylococcus capitis, S. cohnii subsp. cohnii, S. cohnii subsp. urealyticus, S. cohnii subsp. casei, S. epidermidis, S. haemolyticus, S. pasteuri, S. sciuri, S. vitulinus, S. warneri, and S. xylosus. The most frequent species was S. vitulinus. Twenty-two strains showed high biofilm production; 10 strains showed low-grade biofilm production. The highest biofilm formation was measured in the species S. xylosus. Eleven strains (of 32) were methicillin-resistant; the others were susceptible to methicillin.

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We are grateful to Mrs. Margita Bodnárová for her skillful laboratory work. We also thank Dr. Eva Styková from the University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Košice (UVMP, Slovakia) for providing us with fecal samples from Slovak horses, and Dr. Radomíra Nemcová also from UVMP for assisting with the microtiter plate assay. Finally we are thankful to Mr. Andrew Billingham for his English language control.


These results were achieved by using financial support from the Slovak Scientific Agency VEGA, the projects Vega 2/0012/16 and 2/0006/17. Part of the project was also supported by the Statutory Research Fund of the Kielanowski Institute of Animal Physiology and Nutrition, Polish Academy of Sciences, Jablonna, Poland.

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Correspondence to Andrea Lauková.

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Bino, E., Lauková, A., Ščerbová, J. et al. Fecal coagulase-negative staphylococci from horses, their species variability, and biofilm formation. Folia Microbiol 64, 719–726 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12223-019-00684-5

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